(Dump the) Trump, Alarms and No Surprises

My response to the recent U.S. Presidential election was void of emotion, bluntly lacking surprise. The alarm bells had been ringing for a while, throughout ten or more seasons of The Apprentice. Donald Trump’s callous comments and misogynist rants, as well as other events and clues in the media, did not make things look promising for my feminist allies in the U.S.A.

If his blatant racism and homophobia wasn’t bad enough, he also exhibits an abusive tactic known as gas lighting. In a brilliant article for Teen Vogue, journalist Lauren Duca explains “To gas light is to psychologically manipulate a person to the point where they question their own sanity, and that’s precisely what Trump is doing to this country.”

In a much-too-real example of the dangerous thinking that a person like Trump inspires, Duca has received misogynist online abuse following her recent appearance on Fox News, in an interview with Tucker Carlson. She delivered a heroic message despite a frustrating and humiliating exchange with Carlson, who tried to demean her for writing for Teen Vogue. “A woman can love Ariana Grande and her thigh-high boots and still discuss politics, and those things are not mutually exclusive.” Duca retaliated.

Watch it here – Tucker is actually appalling. http://crooksandliars.com/2016/12/teen-vogue-writer-lauren-duca-vs-tucker

Another hero to (re) emerge from election night is Dave Chappelle, because we definitely need a little comic relief after that. In an Election Night skit for Saturday Night Live, Chris Rock and Chappelle laugh heartily at their fellow comedians surprise as the votes are counted. Cecily Strong remarks sincerely, “Oh my god, I think America is racist.” Chappelle responds “Oh my God… You know I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that. He was, like, a slave or something.”

Watch it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbeatG_M4JE

I know Hillary Clinton was the lesser of two evils in this apocalyptic “three ring circus sideshow,” but if she had won the election we would have had this awkward “choice feminism” moment where we all poured champagne into a rose tinted glass. They’d probably even tell us to smile, and we’d toast this glorious occasion… A woman is President, cheer up Buttercup! But then, maybe we could have had a serious conversation about what feminism actually means.

I’m not fighting as a feminist for my ego or personal gain (only don’t call me pretty!) I’m fighting because I believe this will help all of us. The goal of equality is not achieved through individual choices which privilege some but leave others behind; it demands collective structural changes to a world that values some humans more than others. If we fight this battle together, we are more powerful than any of us are as individuals.

The misconception by well-meaning opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to Feminism as well, is the failure to understand this concept. It doesn’t hurt you (in any reasonable situation) to be an ally to someone’s struggle, whether this is racism, sexism, ableism, classism, or any other form of institutionalized discrimination. It doesn’t take anything away from you to recognize that someone else’s struggle is real, and you are not living in two separate realities. White culture has a troubling obsession to “not see colour” and to deny its racialized and gendered assumptions. But white is just another colour in the pigment box of flesh tones, just as there are “many colours in the homo rainbow.” Get over it, Honey.

I feel like we are spending way too much time defending the necessity to be feminists instead of just being feminists. We are defending our right to be women instead of just being women. It’s so exhausting.

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“Dump the Trump” American IPA by Behemoth Brewing Company, Auckland, NZ.

Break time for another hero: this beer. Dump the Trump is a topical, assertively hoppy American IPA. It’s the perfect beer to drink when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I recommend pairing it with picnics and friends. Fortunately the only wall it’s building is “the wall of hops around your taste buds” so you can relax and spit some truth to your allies.

Which brings me to my last topic in this rant, “Emotional Labour”: Work that requires careful management and regulation of emotion to perform tasks, usually to result in a positive experience for someone else, and sometimes without pay. The concept was introduced by Arlie Hochschild in her 1983 book The Managed Heart in which she describes the emotional labour work of flight attendants as being “nicer than natural”.

I have performed the act of “being nice” for most of my life. But, lately I have been examining how my use of positive energy can be exploited and how it is valued or not valued by society in the workplace and in the home. Not to mention, how it is tiring me out!

Women, it seems, are expected to be kind, caring, deferent, and to have empathy in situations where men may be entitled to lack these qualities completely. We saw it in the U.S. election; Clinton was expected to smile, to have dignity and remain calm throughout Trump’s display of arrogant misogynist shit. As women, we were expected to sympathise with her. Male arrogance is rewarded (with a Presidency nonetheless), while women are expected to grin and bear it? This is not a truth that I want to live.

There is a separate term for the skill set of “Emotional Intelligence”, a term which was only recently coined in 1990 and is quickly becoming recognised as a key skill in business leadership. Qualities such as self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy are now recognized as valuable in the domain of highly paid professionals.

We have been gas lighted to think that kindness and empathy are not valuable, that they are not strong qualities. How often do we hear the phrase “Nice guys finish last?” In the current system of emotional dictatorship, to show your feelings signifies weakness. In fact, being sensitive to your own emotions and the emotions of others is one of the most powerful weapons in the world. If we flip the bird to this caveman attitude, and show our real capacity as human beings for kindness and empathy, we could be living in a different reality.

You don’t need to be nice to Ivanka Trump (I’m not saying accost her on a plane – nobody is!) but choose your allies and think about your values. Lift up those who deserve it, and don’t waste your energy on those who don’t. Your choice is powerful, and when you don’t make choices only for yourself, “Every 1’s a Winner.”

I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no airconditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office, and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harrassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth, someone who has eaten hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.

– Zoe Leonard, 1992

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(Dump the) Trump, Alarms and No Surprises

Why I don’t drink Tui

No, its not cos it’s a shit beer. There is nothing shameful about cracking open one of your go-to industrial brewsies at the end of a day of hard yakka. I stand by your right to drink what you like.

It’s not even because its a draught lager that calls itself an East India pale ale. Meh.

It’s cos something about Tui’s brewery adverts (the ones with the “gorgeous” women) had bothered me immensely. Yeah, they were using boobs to sell their beer but so were all the other beer brands. Then it dawned on me: their ads showed women making beer, but the women in their ads don’t drink beer. How can someone in a beer ad not drink beer?

I stand corrected. The “gorgeous” women in their ads don’t drink beer. I did find some advertising images of women drinking beer on their website, but these women were “one of the boys” types. Their gumboots were black, not covered in bows and kitty cats. The culture I am critiquing here is the glorification of the unattainable girl – you know the one. She’s an archetype of male desire and she’s putting us back 50 years into reverse from Beer Utopia.

In Beer Utopia, there are no fake bitches. Everybody is there because they share a passion for beer, not because they’re getting paid for promo work. We all drink from the same rainbow fountain of IPA and equal pay, it doesn’t matter if you have nice tits.

I know, the adverts were meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But they followed such a painfully obvious trope. Do they really think their audience is that dull and…. desperate?

I refuse to support a brand that blatantly excludes me from its target market, and widens the gap between male and female drinking culture. If you’re keen to join me in a mass revolt, flooding their marketing team with a plethora of images of real women drinking beer and flipping the bird, I’m down with that. We can even find a beer to drink that is actually brewed by a lady.

But if you want to keep trucking on with Tui, you can. Yeah right.

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“The last time I drank Tui”, circa 2003.
Why I don’t drink Tui

Women and beer

While advertising for beer often features female bodies, women are less often shown as protagonists or target market consumers for beer. It seems that the beer industry has been overlooking its female market during recent times. Obviously, women drink beer. Women brew beer, like beer and buy beer. So why is it still not being overtly sold to us?

In New Zealand, the beer industry has established the “man’s drink” guise for their consumers, and this mirrors the marketing strategies in Europe and the United States of America. You only have to google a few beer adverts for this to become pretty clear.

But all over the world, women are drinking beer. Why does advertising support the idea that we don’t, or that our drinking is somehow conditional? Why should it require a type of woman or a type of beer, to be visible?

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13052012 NEWS CAMERON BURNELL/Taranaki Daily News. Taranaki Bride of the Year competition at the Plymouth International New Plymouth. Katrina Hayman nee Fraser beer bride generic drinking

The answer, I believe, is found in historical precursors to our modern drinking habits. The conditions of gender equality (if you haven’t noticed, this is another thing I care deeply about besides beer) has an effect on who consumes alcohol and where. It is not always that easy to walk into a bar and buy a drink, if you are not in a position of social privilege. To consume alcohol safely, one must also consider the social implications of “having a drink”. We all know the dangers of being young, drunk and female (cue: problematic gender assumptions and rape culture).

Temperance for all genders was advocated in the late 19th century by suffragettes such as Kate Sheppard, while campaigning for women’s right to vote in NZ. There was a Temperance movement in other parts of the world too, such as England, Ireland, Australia and the USA. It was a reaction to the heavy drinking culture that had been a formative part of the Colonial period and the Industrial Revolution. Temperance and abstinence were advocated as a means for a morally better and more equal society. While drinking celebrated economic and individual liberties for working class men and women, it also came with its own set of social problems.

During the First World War, NZ became sympathetic to the cause of Temperance as a means of showing support for our troops and for austerity. Hotels and restaurants enforced a 6pm closing time, unwittingly resulting in the working population knocking off at 5pm and heading straight to the pub, drinking as much beer as they could in the 1 hour before the bar stopped service. This environment became increasingly unfriendly to women drinkers.

Establishing our binge-drinking culture, this was known as the ‘six-o’clock swill.’ The legislation was introduced in 1917 with good intentions. However the result when it was lifted in 1967 was that a heavy-drinking, wife-beating culture was ingrained well and truly into our psyches.

Alcohol consumption, unfortunately, strolls along amicably with domestic violence incidents. In NZ currently, 1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime. Lately, an average of 13 women, 10 men, and 9 children are killed per year in our country as a result of family violence (see below for reference). This is not always due to alcohol consumption, but it is too often a factor.

Beer, like Capitalism, is inherently neither good nor evil but it needs to be used in a responsible and considerate manner. If we want to become a just, fair and equal society, we need to address the social issues behind alcohol supply and alcohol abuse.

Modern drinking culture has introduced problems to indigenous cultures that did not exist prior to colonization. In many parts of Australia, indigenous people were not granted the right to vote and were not allowed to purchase alcohol legally until the 1960s. This encouraged illegal drinking and alcohol abuse. Disturbingly, it is reputed that there are premises in rural Australia today that will still refuse entry to Indigenous Australians. This is a feminist issue because sexism, class oppression, gender identity and racism are inextricably bound together.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Words used by Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia.

Let us all drink beer, together.

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Artwork by me, Copyright Alix McEntegart 2016.

Sources and further reading:

Reframing women and beer: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-conrad-/what-happens-when-your-an_b_5400848.html
http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/14/sexist-beer-ads-fosters
Beer and Colonial America: http://ushistoryscene.com/article/american-drinking/
https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/jackson-lincoln/essays/women-and-early-industrial-revolution-united-states
http://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/articles/historical-note-temperance-reform-early-19th-century
Women drinking in Victorian England: http://www.victorianlondon.org/women/womendrinking.htm
Beer in NZ: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/alcohol/page-1
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/the-end-of-the-six-oclock-swill
Beer and indigenous cultures: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/health/aboriginal-alcohol-consumption#axzz41Pz9myEl
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/maori-smoking-alcohol-and-drugs-tupeka-waipiro-me-te-tarukino/page-2
Domestic violence in NZ: http://areyouok.org.nz/family-violence/statistics/
Women and beer

Beer for girls

I am a girl (well, woman) and I like beer. Some girls don’t like beer. That is fine, it’s your choice and I’m not going to force it down your throats with a funnel.

It’s just that the stereotype of the typical beer consumer riles me. My belief (and this is not backed up by science) is that girls they are told they don’t like beer, and therefore don’t drink it. This is enforced by social norms, and the fact that most beer is not marketed to girls (18+) or designed to appeal to their tastes.

But girls, rejoice! Because beer culture is growing in its diversity and it is thinking of you. Here are some beers that I have tried and thought: “Some girls might like these even if they normally don’t like beer!”

I would love to hear your feedback. Have you tried any of these beers or do you have any others to recommend? You can comment below or on my facebook page here: www.facebook.com/beertruths/

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White Mischief, a Salted White Peach Sour – by Garage Project, Wellington, NZ.
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Canhead (Panhead Custom Ales) Lola Deville Rosehip & Hibiscus Saison – by Panhead, Upper Hutt, NZ.

 

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Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale – from Kiuchi Brewery, Japan. Pictured here in my fridge.
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Rubus Couture Raspberry Saison- by New New New Corporation, Dunedin, NZ.
Beer for girls

About me

I have a dream. This dream involves me, and beer. It sounds a bit cliché so far, but this is actually about making positive changes.

I want to change the way we drink beer. I want to change who drinks beer, and how we drink beer. I want to change what beer we drink, and why we drink it.

This is a journey. It’s not just about beer, it’s about the choices we make every day and whether they are the right ones for us. It’s about truths, values, caring for each other and doing what you love. Above all, it’s about having fun.

It starts here, and it ends somewhere completely new.

This is me. I’m following my dream, and I hope you will want to join me.

 

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Alix

More of what I do here: http://alix-m.wixsite.com/creative

 

About me